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Savor the History: Taste the Original Farmers Market At Home

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Image courtesy Chronicle Books
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So many cultures can tell their stories through their food, and for Los Angeles, the same can be said for a landmark like the Original Farmers Market. Not only does the historic meeting place for farmers, cooks, foodies, locals, visitors, and shoppers alike offer delicious fresh produce and tantalizing eats and sweets, it also is a vital part of our city's history.The Original Farmers Market has just recently wrapped up a series of events celebrating their 75th anniversary as the iconic locale at the corner of 3rd and Fairfax, but the celebration can come home with you, too. Not just in that basket of fresh local berries, or that bag of Little John's English Toffee, but right into your kitchen. Earlier this year, Chronicle Books released L.A.'s Original Farmers Market Cookbook, a tome that is rich in delicious details about the people and the foods of the market, and that includes recipes for some of its most beloved dishes. Author JoAnn Cianciulli, an L.A. transplant, has been a fan of the market for many years, and has assembled a book filled with mouth-watering images, tasty tidbits about the Market, the stories of many of the stalls, and recollections and remarks by some of Los Angeles' most celebrated chefs.

Give the Gumbo Pot's Seafood Gumbo and Cornbread Muffins a whirl, take a stab at Magee's Roast Turkey, experiment with a French Crepe Company La Normandie Crepe, or try to duplicate Bennett's Fancy Nancy Ice Cream in your home kitchen. Sure, if you live in Los Angeles, why not skip the kitchen shenanigans and go there yourself? Of course that's the best way to guarantee you'll get what you're after, but that would spoil the fun! It's more than just the "cook" in this cookbook, though, that makes it so appealing. Sure, you can make yourself a slice of Patsy's Special Pizza, but you can also sit down and savor a slice of local history.

L.A.'s Original Farmer's Market Cookbook by JoAnn Cianculli
Chronicle Books, 2009. $22.95

Next weekend: On Saturday, August 1st from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. JoAnn Cianciulli, the author of L.A.’s Original Farmers Market Cookbook, will be showcasing her summer grilling recipes featuring the best of the Market in front of Taschen Books.